A police officer in Chandler who specialized in DUI enforcement was killed early this morning after being rear-ended by an alleged drunk driver.
Officer David Payne, a seven-year veteran of the department, was stopped at a red light on his patrol motorcycle around 12:40 a.m. today when he was rear-ended by 31-year-old Tempe resident Brian Yazzie, according to Chandler PD.
"Office Payne wants to be on his motorcycle, he wants to enforce DUI law, and that's what he was doing last night -- he was out on his motorcycle doing what he loved to do," Chandler Police Sergeant Joe Favazzo says. "Unfortunately, we had a DUI driver, driving on a suspended driver's license, rear-end our officer and end his life last night."
The collision took place at the intersection of Chandler Boulevard and Pennington Drive, which is between Alma School Road and Dobson Road.
Payne, who was on-duty at the time, was hospitalized but pronounced dead shortly after 1 a.m. He was 37 years old.
According to police, Yazzie fled the scene of the crash, but was arrested by responding officers just a few blocks away.
Favazzo says Yazzie had an 11-month-old baby in the car with him at the time he crashed into Officer Payne, and that baby was turned over to its mother. Favazzo added that Yazzie's driver's license has been suspended since 2010 for DUI.
Chief Sean Duggan reiterated at a press conference this morning that Payne really was passionate about DUI enforcement.
"I'm absolutely confident that over the course of his career, [with] the hundreds of impaired drivers he removed from the roads . . . he prevented tragedies from happening," Duggan said.
Yazzie has been booked into jail on charges of manslaughter, endangerment, and hit-and-run.
Payne is actually the second Chandler police officer killed in a traffic collision this week.
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Officer Bryant Holmes, age 34, was riding a motorcycle on his way to work Tuesday afternoon when he was hit by an SUV driver in a Gilbert intersection. Police in Gilbert have reportedly recommended charges against the driver of the SUV.
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